Keep whistlin’

Not long ago they were playing it down. Now they’re whispering the dreadful date ” the worst since 1929.” “Today will be a day to endure and survive,” blogs the BBC’s Robert Peston. Events are moving fast towards an unknown destination. “The European Central Bank has pumped 30 billion euros into the system” the BBC reported at 10.30a.m. Only hours before Bloomberg was reporting that European policy makers had concluded talks in Nice, France, without breaking new ground on how they would share the bailout cost if a bank collapse threatened to spread across the region. Added Reuters, “the Bank of England said it would act if necessary”. By 11 0’clock the Bank of England had acted, to the tune of £5 billion.

In the US in the night time hours, part of the story has moved on already.

The Wall Street Journal “The deal is all the more dramatic because Merrill, upon the arrival of Mr. Thain, did more than many U.S. financial giants to insulate itself from the financial crisis that began last year. It raised large amounts of capital, purged itself of toxic assets and sold big equity stakes, such as its holding in financial-information giant Bloomberg LP. That Merrill has opted to sell itself thus underscores the severity of the crisis”.

Likewise the Times analysis: “ ‘Black Monday’ threatens London”

We can only wait and see, nothing else to do – you can rail against the capitalist system if you want…

Former BBC journalist and manager in Belfast, Manchester and London, Editor Spolight; Political Editor BBC NI; Current Affairs Commissioning editor BBC Radio 4; Editor Political and Parliamentary Programmes, BBC Westminster; former London Editor Belfast Telegraph. Hon Senior Research Fellow, The Constitution Unit, Univ Coll. London